The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, is reportedly planning to offer a bitcoin trading service to its investor clients, three people familiar with the matter told CoinDesk.
BlackRock entering the Bitcoin space by offering investment products to its clients could represent a watershed moment to the digital currency given that the New York-based firm manages over $10 trillion in assets for institutional investors.
One of the people reportedly said the asset manager would let its clients get access to loans by putting up cryptocurrency as collateral with “client support trading and then with their own credit facility.”
BlackRock’s over 1,500 institutional clients – which include corporate and public pensions, endowments and foundations, and sovereign wealth funds – would be able to trade bitcoin through the asset manager’s integrated investment software, Aladdin, one of the people reportedly said.
A second person familiar with the matter reportedly said that BlackRock was interested in getting “hands-on with outright crypto” and was “looking at providers in the space.”
A third person reportedly commented that there is a working group of “approximately 20 or so” evaluating bitcoin and cryptocurrency inside BlackRock. “They see all the flow that everyone else is getting and want to start making some money from this,” the person added.
BlackRock’s chief executive officer Larry Fink said in May of last year that the asset manager was studying bitcoin to determine whether it could offer countercyclical benefits, according to a Reuters report. The executive also said that cryptocurrencies could potentially play a role in long-term investing as an asset class similar to gold.
In 2021, the asset manager tiptoed into bitcoin investing through derivatives-based products traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Last month, BlackRock filed with the SEC to offer an exchange-traded fund that would invest in companies involved in the “development, innovation, and utilization of blockchain and crypto technologies,” reported Bloomberg.
BlackRock also owns a significant stake in the largest corporate holder of bitcoin, MicroStrategy, whose CEO Michael Saylor is a vocal bitcoin bull.